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"TSOTSI"
(2006) (Presley Chweneyage, Terry Pheto) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
*Heavy Heavy Extreme Heavy Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Minor Mild *Mild Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Mild Heavy Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: When a carjacking results in him being in the possession of his victim's infant, a tough and murderous street thug slowly finds himself bonding with the baby that starts to change his outlook on life and his lifestyle.
PLOT:
In the slums of Soweto, Tsotsi (PRESLEY CHWENEYAGAE) and his gang -- volatile enforcer Butcher (ZENZO NGQOBE), follower Aap (KENNETH NKOSI) and intellectual Boston (MOTHUSI MAGANO) -- are petty thieves and drug dealers who scrounge to get by, but don't seem to have many cares in the world.

That changes after they murder a man on the subway and Boston begins to question their acts. That and his bringing up Tsotsi's past enrage the leader who beats Boston to a pulp and then runs off into the night. Things then become even more complicated when the young thug carjacks rich Pumla Dube (NAMBITHA MPUMLWANA) and shoots her in the process.

Speeding away, he discovers to his horror that the woman's infant is in the backseat. Prepared to abandon it but then having second thoughts, Tsotsi returns the child to his hovel where he quickly comes to the realization that he has no idea how to care for it. Accordingly, he confronts a mother who lives nearby, Miriam (TERRY PHETO), and makes her breastfeed the baby at gunpoint.

From that point on, and as Pumla's husband John (RAPULANA SEIPHEMO) worries about his severely injured wife and missing child, and Tsotsi's gang grows apart from him, the thug must decide what to do with his life.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
The fact that it won the 2005 Oscar® for Best Foreign Language Film might entice some older teens.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language and some strong violent content.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • PRESLEY CHWENEYAGAE plays the ringleader of the small gang who's a murderous thug. When he carjacks Pumla and shoots her, he unwittingly takes her baby into his care. From that point on, he bonds with the infant despite not knowing how to care for it, with the baby's presence slowly changing his way of looking at the world.
  • ZENZO NGQOBE plays the volatile enforcer in the gang who begins to question Tsotsi's leadership.
  • KENNETH NKOSI plays the follower of the group who doesn't make any of his own decisions.
  • MOTHUSI MAGANO plays the intellectual member of the group who's disenchanted with their ways, particularly after Tsotsi beats him badly.
  • TERRY PHETO plays a single mother who's forced, first at gunpoint, to breastfeed the infant Tsotsi has taken as his own. She then continues to do so, partly for the baby but also because she fears for her life.
  • NAMBITHA MPUMLWANA plays the mother who's shot during a carjacking where she loses her infant. From that point, she worries about him.
  • RAPULANA SEIPHEMO plays her husband who worries about both his baby as well as his injured wife. He also has a confrontation with Tsotsi and his gang in his house.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 27 "f" words (in subtitles), while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. A woman's bare breast is seen as she breastfeeds a baby, but no sexual content is present.

    Violence includes several deaths (by stabbing and a gunshot), while another person is shot and one gang member pummels another. Those incidents have bloody results and they and other moments might be unsettling or suspenseful to viewers, while some of the behavior (mainly gang-related) might be enticing for some kids to imitate. The perpetrators have obvious bad attitudes for their various crimes, while they and others drink and/or smoke, while some drug use (pot) may be present (they're either smoking cigarettes or marijuana, but the characters are noted as being drug dealers). Parents worry about their kidnapped baby, while the husband of that pair worries about his injured wife.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Butcher may be smoking a joint.
  • Some of the gang members have what looks like beer.
  • Some of the gang members have beer, while others there also drink.
  • Boston appears to smoke pot.
  • Boston and others have beer.
  • In a flashback, young Tsotsi's father has a beer.
  • Boston has beer and comments are made implying that he has a drinking problem (and Tsotsi reminds Boston of finding him on the street, drunk and in his own vomit -- not seen).
  • Butcher appears to smoke pot.
  • Aap tries wine in John's house, but says he prefers beer.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see a little blood on a man's shirt after he's just been fatally stabbed.
  • Boston vomits following Butcher stabbing a man to death during a robbery.
  • Upset about Butcher having just murdered someone, Boston breaks a bottle and uses the end to cut his own arm (with bloody results).
  • Upset with Boston questioning their actions, Tsotsi punches him. He then proceeds to kick and punch him repeatedly, severely bloodying his face.
  • We briefly see the infant's dirty diaper and Tsotsi uses newspaper to wipe its rear as well as fashion a makeshift diaper on it.
  • After Tsotsi pulls a gun on a wheelchair bound man, the latter tells the former, "You made an old man piss his pants" (but we don't see anything related to that).
  • Days after Tsotsi beat him, Boston's eye is still swollen shut and he has various crude stitches on various cuts on his face.
  • Blood splatters onto a person's face as another person is shot dead. The victim is then seen on the floor with blood on him and a pool of his blood on the floor by him.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Tsotsi and his minions have bad attitudes for their life of crime (that includes murder, carjacking, kidnapping and drug dealing).
  • Butcher mocks Miriam, saying that if she doesn't have any milk for her child, she can let it "suck me," all as Boston flicks his fingers at his chest to mock breasts.
  • Tsotsi talks of someone kicking and thus breaking a dog's back.
  • Needing Miriam's help with the infant he's inadvertently kidnapped, Tsotsi holds his gun on her. She grabs a kitchen knife, but he tells her to put it down and she does. He then continues to aim his gun at her to make her breast-feed the baby (which she does and he stops aiming at her). When he leaves, he threatens that if she tells anyone, he'll kill her.
  • We hear the sound of young Tsotsi's father hitting a dog, followed by sounds of it whimpering and then crawling out, appearing severely injured.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" may be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.
  • Tsotsi and his gang spot a middle-aged man to rob and follow him onto a crowded subway car where they surround him and gesture for him to be quiet. Butcher then pulls out a long, skinny knife. As they rob him, Butcher stabs him once in the gut (with no around them noticing). As the train empties, then they leave him on the floor dead.
  • Upset with Boston questioning their actions, Tsotsi punches him. He then proceeds to kick and punch him repeatedly, severely bloodying his face.
  • Tsotsi waits and then gets into Pumla's car when she's at the entrance gate, trying to get John to open it. When she sees Tsotsi in her car, she rushes up and opens the door, with him then shooting her. She falls away and we think she's dead, but she then pops up at the car window as he drives away (we later hear she's alive, but that she might not walk again).
  • Tsotsi finds Pumla's infant in a car seat in the back of Pumla's car. He's about to abandon both the car and baby, but when he hears the latter crying, he places it in a shopping bag along with other things he steals from the car.
  • Various scenes of the wailing infant might be unsettling or grating to some viewers, particularly when they know it's under duress.
  • A man in a wheelchair spits on Tsotsi's shoe, infuriating Tsotsi. But he waits until later to follow the wheelchair bound man out into some desolate part of the city. That man then throws rocks at Tsotsi until the hoodlum pulls his gun, scaring the man who has no way to escape. The man offers Tsotsi his money, but Tsotsi kicks the small canister holding the man's money. After some tense moments, Tsotsi lets the man live and leaves.
  • When Tsotsi returns to his "home," he sees ants crawling all over the shopping bag in which he's still keeping the infant. He then removes the infant that has ants all over its face (the baby is crying, but is okay after that).
  • Needing Miriam's help with the infant he's inadvertently kidnapped, Tsotsi holds his gun on her. She grabs a kitchen knife, but he tells her to put it down and she does. He then continues to aim his gun at her to make her breast-feed the baby (which she does and he stops aiming at her). When he leaves, he threatens that if she tells anyone, he'll kill her.
  • We hear the sound of young Tsotsi's father hitting a dog, followed by sounds of it whimpering and then crawling out, appearing severely injured.
  • Spoiler Alert: Tsotsi, Butcher and Aap stake out a house at night that we then see belongs to John and Pumla. As John pulls up, they rush up and confront him, with Tsotsi holding a gun to his head. Once inside, Butcher wants to knife John right away, but Tsotsi won't let him. As Butcher goes about robbing the place (and finds John's hidden handgun) and Tsotsi solemnly looks through the baby's room, we see John starting to untie himself from his chair. He then activates his car alarm, causing the others to panic. Butcher races up and tries to shoot John, but the gun doesn't fire. He then cocks it again, we hear a shot and blood splatters onto John's face, but we then see that Tsotsi has shot Butcher dead. Tsotsi then holds his gun on John for a moment, but then turns off the car alarm.
  • The cops raid Tsotsi's place and hold their guns on Boston who's in bed.
  • Tsotsi goes to return the infant to John and Pumla and is outside at their driveway gate when a cop inside spots him and calls in the reinforcements. Tsotsi is about to leave, but the crying baby brings him back and he picks it up as the other cops arrive and then hold their guns on him. After a few tense moments, including John calmly trying to get the baby back from Tsotsi, the hoodlum does just that as the cops continue to aim their guns at him.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Knife: Used to threaten, wound or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: Phrases (in English subtitles): "F*ck off," "Oh f*ck," "F*ck him," "F*ck all," "F*ck you," "You f*cking bastard," "F*ck your decency," "Smells like sh*t," "Bullsh*t," "He was sh*t," "Chill out," "Bastard," "Dog," "Go to hell" and "Moron."
  • It's possible the film could inspire some kids to act in a gang-like fashion.
  • Tsotsi gives "the finger" to others.
  • Upset about Butcher having just murdered someone, Boston breaks a bottle and uses the end to cut his own arm (with bloody results).
  • We see miscellaneous graffiti.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A person is suddenly shot and blood splatters onto another person.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A mild amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • A song had what sounded like a use of the "s" word, but we couldn't hear or understand the rest of the lyrics in it or other songs, thus presenting the possibility of them containing objectionable material.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 27 "f" words, 9 "s" words, 1 damn, 1 hell and 4 uses of "Jesus" (in English subtitles).
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Pumla shows some cleavage.
  • Butcher mocks Miriam, saying that if she doesn't have any milk for her child, she can let it "suck me," all as Boston flicks his fingers at his chest to mock breasts.
  • We see part of Miriam's bare breast as she breast-feeds the infant.
  • A woman shows some cleavage.
  • We see Tsotsi in his boxers.
  • Miriam opens her shirt (thus showing cleavage) and we then see several views of her bare breast (including the nipple) before and during her breast-feeding the infant.
  • SMOKING
  • Some smoking is seen (by Butcher, Aap and others), but it's not always clear whether it's tobacco or drug-based.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Boston comments about when Tsotsi's mom left (we later learn he means died) and asks Tsotsi where his father is (Tsotsi doesn't reply).
  • John is worried about Pumla and their kidnapped baby, while Pumla is worried about the latter as well.
  • We see a flashback to when Tsotsi was a boy and his mother is very sick in bed (presumably with AIDS). His father then comes in and tells the boy to get away from her so that he doesn't catch anything. Following that and his father severely injuring a dog, Tsotsi runs away (presumably never to return).
  • Miriam states that her husband never returned home one day and it's implied that he was murdered.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Kids turning to various sorts of gangs for survival and/or companionship and friendship.
  • How Tsotsi reassesses his life after inadvertently coming into possession of the baby.
  • Life in shantytowns.
  • We see various signs about AIDS and HIV.
  • We see various young kids sleeping in concrete pipes outdoors (this is their home, and we later hear that Tsotsi previous lived there).
  • VIOLENCE
  • Tsotsi and his gang spot a middle-aged man to rob and follow him onto a crowded subway car where they surround him and gesture for him to be quiet. Butcher then pulls out a long, skinny knife. As they rob him, Butcher stabs him once in the gut (with no around them noticing). As the train empties, then they leave him on the floor dead.
  • Upset about Butcher having just murdered someone, Boston breaks a bottle and uses the end to cut his own arm (with bloody results).
  • Upset with Boston questioning their actions, Tsotsi punches him. He then proceeds to kick and punch him repeatedly, severely bloodying his face.
  • Tsotsi waits and then gets into Pumla's car when she's at the entrance gate, trying to get John to open it. When she sees Tsotsi in her car, she rushes up and opens the door, with him then shooting her. She falls away and we think she's dead, but she then pops up at the car window as he drives away (we later hear she's alive, but that she might not walk again).
  • Tsotsi ends up driving his stolen car across a street sign, knocking it down and damaging the car.
  • A man in a wheelchair spits on Tsotsi's shoe, infuriating Tsotsi. But he waits until later to follow the wheelchair bound man out into some desolate part of the city. That man then throws rocks at Tsotsi until the hoodlum pulls his gun, scaring the man who has no way to escape. The man offers Tsotsi his money, but Tsotsi kicks the small canister holding the man's money. After some tense moments, Tsotsi lets the man live and leaves.
  • We hear the sound of young Tsotsi's father hitting a dog, followed by sounds of it whimpering and then crawling out, appearing severely injured.
  • Spoiler Alert: Tsotsi, Butcher and Aap stake out a house at night that we then see belongs to John and Pumla. As John pulls up, they rush up and confront him, with Tsotsi holding a gun to his head. Once inside, Butcher wants to knife John right away, but Tsotsi won't let him. As Butcher goes about robbing the place (and finds John's hidden handgun) and Tsotsi solemnly looks through the baby's room, we see John starting to untie himself from his chair. He then activates his car alarm, causing the others to panic. Butcher races up and tries to shoot John, but the gun doesn't fire. He then cocks it again, we hear a shot and blood splatters onto John's face, but we then see that Tsotsi has shot Butcher dead. Tsotsi then holds his gun on John for a moment, but then turns off the car alarm.



  • Reviewed January 30, 2006 / Posted March 24, 2006

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